Beginning in January, the Small Business Development Center, based in Rome, will offer classes in Bartow County for new, prospective or experienced business owners.
A division of the University of Georgia, SBDC has offices throughout the state and offers help to the business community through various programs, including personal consultations and group seminars. Each business consultant has a Master of Business Administration and most have owned their own business, while others have experience in specific areas, such as banking, accounting, manufacturing or agriculture.
SBDC business consultants out of the Rome office will lead the Cartersville seminars, which begin Tuesday, Jan. 22, and continue weekly until Tuesday, Feb. 12. Matt Pearce, a former small business owner in northwest Georgia with personal experience inside a Fortune 100 company, will be one of the consultants leading the local programs.
“Our goal in life is to help business owners operate their businesses more profitably and more efficiently and basically we do that through a combination of continuation education or training program seminars as well as one-on-one business consulting with business owners,” Pearce said. “In Cartersville, we’ll be doing four classes, each will be two-and-a-half or three hours. They’ll be at the Chamber of Commerce and they are four different classes that can be purchased separately or as a package.
“We’ve got them structured and organized where if someone is thinking of starting a business, doing all four of theses is a real good thing to consider. We’re calling that our Startup Success Series. If someone already has a business and doesn’t need the first class on starting a business, we have the other three packaged together and that’s what we call our Back to Basics package.”
The four-part course will cover the basics of starting a business before moving to the areas of marketing, constructing a business plan and securing capital. Seminar topics are inspired by the questions SBDC business consultants hear most often and the issues commonly facing small business owners.
“The first class is what we call Starting a Business. So if someone is wanting to become a business owner, they want to start their own business, we talk about a lot of different issues people need to be aware of,” Pearce said. “And the second class is marketing. Very often, a big part of what we see in marketing is that folks don’t have a cohesive plan. A lot of people now are thinking about the Internet and how can I use a website and Facebook, but there are other types of marketing, radio, TV, print. We like to say, ‘All advertising is successful, some works better for you than others.’ Part of that is finding out what the right mix is for your particular business.
“The business plan will be the third week. The business plan needs to be a living document and we will help them understand what goes into a business plan. That becomes important particularly when someone is looking to secure financing for a business. They will want to know that this person has really thought through the issues for their business.
“... The last class is finding money for your business and that addresses preparation of a loan package or a presentation to venture capitalists. A big part of what we do is helping people with loan packages and that kind of thing, talking about the different types of financing — whether it’s a bank, or SBA or a private investor.”
All courses will be held at the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce. Individual seminars are $69, all four are $199 and the final three courses are available in a package for $149. There are some partial scholarships available to those who qualify. For more information, visit www.romesbdc.org or call Program Manager Sarah Tuck at 706-622-2006.